Arlen Specter and the Personification of Irrelevance

Last week Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter officially announced his plans to run for reelection as a Democrat in the upcoming 2010 midterm election. There actually is no story here. Specter has always voted with his own survival in mind and this current move is more of the same.

If Specter has remained in the Republican Party he would have had to face challenger Pat Toomey in the primary for a rematch of a very tightly contested 2004 contest. Polls and current sentiment among voters showed Specter going down hard. We can’t have that however, so what does the weasel do? Switch parties where he will face zero primary opposition, and based on Pennsylvania’s hardcore dedication to voting Democrat no questions asked, have a much better shot at reelection.

Career politicians, aren’t they swell?

The biggest hypocrisy lost amidst this circus, is Specter’s own assurances over the last two months that no such switch was on the horizon. During an appearance on MSNBC, Specter outlined the what-ifs, “if there’s a Democrat in my place… they’ll get anything they want. It will be a bulldozer,” referring to the would-be 60 seat Democrat majority in the Senate. For all the ire he caused Republicans and right-wing statists, actually professing a desire to defend what little division of government is left was admirable.

Yet three weeks later Specter officially jumped ship and joined the left-wing statists where he has been more comfortable for his entire career. “I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.” Or in other words, I won’t give up power until they pry it from my cold, cancerous, fingers.

In the end, this is a win-win for the Republican Party and break-even at best for the Democrats. With Specter’s change the Dems only need one more seat to reach a filibuster-proof 60 and once that happens they’ll have clear sailing to pass whatever horrendous legislation they please.

This plays into the Republicans’ favor like this: First, they lose a guy they never liked. Second, with a clear cut, unchallengeable majority, every miserable piece of Democrat legislation that fails (and it all will) can no longer be blamed on those pesky Republicans and the compromises that watered down the bills to get them passed. Plus, when the left-wing statists start yelling for their projects the Dems will no longer have a Republican scapegoat to blame for “delays” in passing more garbage.

But hey, doesn’t matter what party, it all stinks. So what do I care?


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